Fostering healthy sibling love and a strong relationship among your children is an important part of their development. Allowing them to develop a camaraderie and appreciation for each other can help them forge familial bonds that last into their adulthood.
Kids who had a lot of conflict and parental favoritism growing up are more prone to developing depression, anxiety, hostility, and loneliness in their later years.
Since positive habits and behaviors are best developed while young, make sure to introduce activities that your children can try together. Here are some you can use to help them naturally bond and grow their sibling love.
Sibling love tip #1: Pick up hobbies together
This option is very versatile given that there are many hobbies for siblings to start doing together! It’s something for them to talk about and bond over or, at the very least, to create shared experiences. You can have them try sports, or do something home-based like arts and crafts.
One hobby that can suit various age groups while nurturing sibling love is music. Older kids might want to start a family band to make things fun, while younger kids can just enjoy experimenting with various instruments.
Research cited by the World Economic Forum notes that learning to play music can help with brain development.
Toddlers can boost their motor skills while toying with a small piano, while learning notes could help older kids strengthen their memory. These skills can be transferred to tasks outside of playing music, such as their education. Plus, music can be a very fun thing to make together!
Sibling love tip #2: Take them to outdoor group activities
Frequently taking your kids outdoors is very good for their health, development, and bonding. A study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology points out that children who are connected to nature are more ‘pro-social’. This means they’re more likely to help, share, and cooperate with others around them. And even if the children are still very young, it pays to get them outside and experiencing the world.
If you prefer using a stroller to babywearing, the tandem strollers on iCandy (available in the U.K. and Ireland) show how many designs are built to carry more than one child simultaneously while maintaining the same width as a single pushchair.
This allows the siblings to be in close contact with each other and engage with the outdoor environment without the inconvenience of a side-by-side stroller. If one child is more inquisitive, they can be placed in the front, while the child in the back with have the comfort of being shielded.
Once they get older, you have more options to nurture sibling love, such as outdoor games, camping, or fishing trips. These are all activities they can engage in together to form a bond.
Sibling love tip #3: Playing co-op games
Playing games is a surefire way to pique a kid’s interest and help them learn new things. With the vast array of board games out there and the advent of multiplayer video games, you can easily let your kids have some fun together in an activity that requires them to work as a team to succeed.
If you’re worried about content that might not be good for children, you can always read up on appropriate options, such as the kid-friendly games featured on CNET. There are tons of games you can even play together with your kids to foster their bonding time and associate it with parent time, too.
Sibling love tip #4: Make DIY projects together
It’s always fun for kids when they get to make something they can be proud of. It flexes their creativity and can even teach them new skills. There are a lot of DIY craft projects that are easy enough for kids of different ages, and you can either have them collaborate on making one thing or have them create their own variations (as long as you avoid making things too competitive.)
Make it a regular activity or have your children pick out projects they personally find interesting so they can each feel engaged.
Parenting siblings requires more care, but the rewards are fulfilling for the heart. For more tips on raising kids to be peaceful with each other, check out our interview with Dr. Laura Markham of Aha! Parenting.
This post was prepared by Isabelle Sharp.